Yes, Lent this year follows hot foot on Christmas.  But of course, the two are not unconnected!   For catechumens in our parishes this is a very significant moment.  They are about to take that second step, the liturgical rite called ‘election’ or ‘enrolment of  names’, which closes their period of formation of the mind and heart, and marks the beginning of the 6-week intense final period of preparation for the sacraments – born again by water and the spirit!

The Rite of Election is a significant moment of encouragement for all on the journey – the ‘elect’ themselves, and those who accompanying them, as godparents, and members of the community.

Catechumens,  are you ready?  And are we, your companions, ready to make this final part of the journey of conversion with you?  The Rite of Election helps you clarify your intentions to receive the sacraments of the Church.  And we are here to help you consider –  the community surrounds you with prayer!

On the coming Sunday, 1st Sunday of Lent, and co-incidentally, Valentine’s Day, when we think about love – we are reflecting deeply on God’s call of love to us, as we gather in our Cathedral with our Bishop.  Your godparents (or sponsor) and catechists and community representatives with you, will give testimony on your behalf, of your growing love of Christ and relationship with Him – and you will write your name in the Book of the Elect – Yes, I want to be faithful to Christ!

Questions to pray and help you prepare:

  • Is this really what I want in my heart of hearts?  How do I feel drawn to this calling by God, to know his love?
  • How has the Word of God in scripture spoken to me, and guided me in the way of following Jesus, the very face of God’s love?  What difference has this made?  How have I responded?  How have I changed?
  • How do I feel in the community – the small group, and the wider parish?  Is there a growing sense of belonging here?  Can I feel the ‘communion’ and sense of growing belonging?
  • What do my catechists/priest/RCIA group members/new friends in the community say about me?  Do they notice any changes in me?  What about my family?  What do they see?

Baptism is an ‘enlightenment’ filling us with the light of faith – and the promise of Jesus is just that – you WILL be filled with the light of the Holy Spirit.  Lent is a wonderful part of your journey, with the whole parish community, time to fast and pray, get involved in some form of service of others, and grow in trust in Christ’s presence with you every step of the way.

Father of love and power;

it is your will to establish everything in Christ

and to draw us into his all-embracing love.

Guide the elect of your Church:

strengthen them in their vocation,

build them into the kingdom of your Son,

and seal them with the Spirit of your promise.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen

(RCIA 122 B Prayer over theRite of Election 2011 028 Elect)

Team:  Don’t forget – the diocese needs the names of your catechumens, both adults and children, together with the names of their sponsors (or godparents).   These will go towards national figures from every diocese in England & Wales,celebrating and  keeping track of the number of adult and children’s being initiated into the Church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil 2016.

Note on Reception into Full Communion: In many of our dioceses, it is still the practice that those who are already baptised, and are seeking full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, are also invited to come to the Cathedral, and celebrate The Call to Continuing Conversion with the Bishop (following on from but different to the Rite of Election for the unbaptised).   This is not part of RCIA – which is the pathway to Christian Initiation.  Those to be received into full communion will be confirmed and receive the Holy EUcharist – at a time agreed by the parish priest and the candidates themselves.  Some are ready and received at the Easter Vigil, others in the Easter Seasons, and others still when they are ready at any point in the liturgical year.